American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Kanchenjunga Attempt and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989

Kanchenjunga Attempt and Tragedy. The advance party of four members and one support member left Bombay on February 22. At Hille about 200 porters were hired to ferry the expeditions loads. The advance party established Base Camp on March 26 at 5500 meters at Pache’s grave above the Yalung Glacier and opened the route to Camp I by the end of March. The whole team of 24 members assembled at Base Camp between April 3 and 6. Camps I, II, III, IV, V and VI were set up on the normal route at 5900, 6400, 6800, 7275, 7680 and 7725 meters. Intermittent spells of heavy snowfall often stopped movement temporarily. Under such conditions, taking advantage of comparatively good weather on May 11, Charuhas Joshi and two high-altitude porters went to Camp VI. On the morning of the 12th, heavy snowfall and high winds delayed the departure until nine A.M. They gained the Gangway up a steep incline and continued up, fixing rope. As they reached 8100 meters, the conditions worsened. Charuhas suffered frostnipped fingers and they decided to return. Because of the weather, a second summit party could leave Camp V for Camp VI only on May 14. While Charuhas and his team had taken four hours to make this journey, Uday Kolwankar and two porters needed eight because of the new snow on the Shelf. The next day dawned with snowfall and wind and they postponed their summit attempt for a day. After a 5:30 start on May 16, they proceeded without fixing rope and by 1:30 P.M. had reached 8440 meters. It started to snow. After an hour’s wait, they decided to abandon the summit attempt. Radio contact was difficult. On the 17th, Base Camp finally communicated with Uday at two P.M. The expedition was called off and instructions were given to wind up all camps and return to Base Camp. On the 16th, deputy leader Sanjay Borole, who had been masterminding the second summit attempt, started for Base Camp with Anil Kumar. When they reached Camp III, he was tired and decided to stay there. On the 17th, he started for Camp II, accompanied by Anil and Jay ant Kulkami. By the time they approached the Plateau, he said he could not proceed further on his own. Despite the help of three porters sent from Camp II, Sanjay Borole died from hypothermia and exhaustion during the evacuation before he could be got to Camp II. His body was brought to Base Camp on the 20th. Respecting the local custom whereby cremation could not be carried out above a particular temple near Ramzer, the last rites were performed on May 23 on the banks of Simbua Khola, 60 kilometers and 11,000 feet below where he had died.

Vasant Limaye, Girivihar, India

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